The health information site category has grown 21% in the past year, from slightly less than 57 million unique visitors in July ’07 to 69 million this July – or more than four times the growth rate of the total US internet population, according to a comScore study.
WebMD remains the leading site in the category with 17.3 million visitors in July (up 3% versus year ago); it is also the top display ad publisher among health sites, comScore found.
However, three other health networks boosted the overall growth of the category, each attracting more than ten million visitors, according to the study: Everyday Health with 14.7 million (up 63%), Revolution Health Network with 11.3 million visitors (up 182%), and AOL Health with 11.1 million (up 88%).
Everyday Health and Revolution Health Network both achieved significant organic growth on their core Web sites, but recent partnerships with several smaller health sites and some strategic acquisitions have also contributed to their gains, comScore said.
“Most sites have become vibrant online communities rooted in sharing experiences and advice, rather than simply being one-way information resources for the consumer,” said John Mangano, senior director, comScore Pharmaceutical Marketing Solutions.
“As Google and Microsoft ramp up efforts with their respective health sites, Google Health and Microsoft HealthVault, it will be interesting to see how the category continues to evolve.”
Top Display Ad Publishers
In June, more than 1.5 billion display ad views were seen by nearly 54 million people via sites in the health information category.
WebMD topped the list of display ad publishers, delivering 290 million display ad views and reaching nearly 15 million people at an average frequency of 19.3 times per visitor during the month.
Revolution Health Network and AOL Health ranked second and third, with 201 million display ad views and 186 million display ad views, respectively. While the number of unique visitors exposed to advertising at both Revolution Health Network and AOL Health were significantly lower than for WebMD Health, they were reached with a higher frequency.
Also noteworthy is that despite Weight Watchers International’s delivering ads to just 2 million unique visitors, each ad-exposed visitor saw an average of 31 display ads during the month, the highest frequency among the top 10 publisher sites in the category.